Everyone who watches anime extensively has no doubt experienced “that” moment. What exactly is “that” moment? It is difficult to say exactly. It’s a moment that incites a change in emotion so great as to leave one speechless. Or perhaps it’s a sequence of events that build up one after another until finally reaching the climactic finish. It may even be as simple as a conversation between two characters with powerful undertones.
One thing remains certain; moments like these can single handedly make or break an anime series. These are the moments that stay with us, the moments in which we gauge our anime experience. It is one of many reasons why many of us find Japanese animation so intriguing. In no particular order, here is a list of such moments which I find capture the essence of why I love anime. The first of hopefully many more to come.
Scanty & Kneesocks vs. Panty & Stocking, Panty and Stocking 06
This entire episode was pure ball breaking budget busting action. The arrival of Scanty and Kneesocks, the gun kata, the sword fighting, the indoor vehicular destruction, chuck vs fastener, the rooftop scene with Briefers. The animation was superb. Pure ecstasy from beginning to end. You can tell that the budget for this episode was higher than normal.
CHANGE GETTER ONE, Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo
Getter Robo is manliness. Made by two of the manliest men in anime history, Go Nagai and Ken Ishikawa, Getter Robo is something you watch if you want to see super robots beating the crap out of things with no regard for much else. I still put on a grin watching the getter pilots and their super robot arsenal of attacks. The anime world needs more people to fill the Ken Ishikawa’s empty shoes.
Everything is Interconnected, Durarara!! 12
A slight deviation from its predecessor Baccano, Durarara to takes the same style of storytelling and attempts to weave in a coherent plot. Could Brain Base pull it off? The answer is yes, flawlessly. Episodes 1-12 which adapt the first arc of the novels is more or less a modern Baccano inspired narrative set in Japan. The mystery genre is of course the first noticeable difference. We are introduced slowly to an ensemble cast of characters, that much like Baccano, have nothing to do with each other. The series begins to juggle several story lines at once, all the while being careful not to reveal to much to the viewer. It gets to the point where we are dying to know the truth behind these mysterious “Dollars,” and who is behind everything. Then comes episode 12 and the thrilling conclusion of the first arc.
The Lights in the Sky are Stars, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lagann-hen
The Super Galaxy Dai-gurren sequence is still pretty awesome no matter how many times I’ve watched it. The transformation to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann took it to a “whole ‘nother level.” Then came infinite big bang storm. Them anti-spirals got some nerve, stirring up trouble with an attack like that. But then, Lord Genome from out of nowhere and all of a sudden it’s time to do “that.” Man this entire movie was simply awesome. This is Hiroyuki Imaishi’s last word as the Gurren Lagann story comes to a close.
The End of the 4½ Tatami Age, Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei 11
The Tatami Galaxy is perhaps one of the most well written and well directed shows of the decade. The Tatami Ideologues one episode earlier provided the perfect set up and Masaaki Yuasa delivers a thrilling conclusion to this series. I really love the imagery used in these final two episodes. The cinematography and writing is superb, with Watashi’s inner struggle and monologue being the primary means of exposition. Everything comes together perfectly in a spectacular denouement.
“We can just die here, or we can try. Let’s see what we’ve got!”, Mind Game
Mind game has the tendency to play with your mind, in a good way. Not only is this film artistically beautiful and experimental, it does so in a way that is entertaining. Yuasa again proves why he is one of anime’s most innovative and creative minds today. The experience of the characters from within the whale is indescribably surreal. The “Rhapsody” sequence is something different altogether. But what makes this movie in the end is the awesome finale. The characters choosing to give it their best shot.
“It’s a sinker”, FLCL 04
FLCL, 6 episodes of just about everything, certainly has more than its fair share of action. Whats more is that the final three episodes took on a different form altogther. There was something inherently awesome about the penultimate scene, the one where Naota is left alone to face the “sinker.” Was it because of Naota’s swing? Was it because of The Pillows and “Crazy Sunshine” blasting in the background? Eyebrows? Haruko being Haruko? Or maybe was it simply the over the top craziness that is FLCL? Yes, maybe it was all of these things.
Uzi Baby, Dead Leaves
If there’s one thing I realized while watching Dead Leaves, its that Hiroyuki Imaishi is a 10-year old hyper active version of Hideaki Anno. Dead Leaves is an hour or so of non stop action, leaving little room for anything else. You’ve got your duo of destruction leading a group of rag tag prisoners through a horde of soldiers, trying to escape from prison. There are guns, tanks, explosions, screaming, cursing, drills, pretty much everything. Then comes this scene…
“Ai Oboete imasu ka?”, Macross: Do You Remember Love?
The entire final sequence to this movie is simply beautiful. There is really no other way to describe it. Unfortunately, I can’t call myself a true fan from the Macross generation. That was way before my time. But if there is any testament to the power of Macross, its the fact that I, an anime fan from more than 2 decades later, watched this movie, and was able to “understand.” If you haven’t already, watch this movie, and you will understand as well. Macross is truly a timeless epic and a relic of the anime medium.
“It’s the climax!”, FLCL 06
“It’s the CLIMAX!” This scene left me speechless. From the moment Haruko spoke those words and “Last Dinosaur” began blasing, to Naota’s confrontation with Amaro, to the final battle deciding the fate of the planet with “I think I can” playing in the background, even the short epilogue after the final battle with the all too familiar “Little Busters,” and the conclusion to this epic story. What an ending.
When all is said and done, when no other image macro will do, there can only be one: